Death of fifth bird of prey is investigated

THE death of a fifth bird of prey is being investigated as the reward has increased to £7,500 for information leading to the conviction of who was responsible for four peregrine falcon poisonings.

A post-mortem is being carried out on a kestrel which died after being found alive by Guernsey Animal Aid.(28543770)
A post-mortem is being carried out on a kestrel which died after being found alive by Guernsey Animal Aid.(28543770)

An anonymous benefactor had provided Guernsey Animal Aid with £5,000 initially.

In the past week a kestrel was found in an incident which is suspected to be a poisoning.

‘We found a kestrel on Sunday which was alive in the morning but had died by the afternoon,’ said Animal Aid founder Sue Vidamour.

‘It is having a post-mortem at Vets4Pets. We won’t know how it died for a little while.’

Post-mortems are paid for by the charity.

‘We’re not into money at all, we’re into animals. If somebody brought me a kestrel, sparrow hawk, or any bird of prey I’d take it for a post-mortem.’

Unusual circumstances raised suspicion, since birds of prey aren’t often found dead in summer when food supply is plentiful and conditions optimal.

‘I’ve never found a dead bird of prey before, except in winter. It just seems a bit odd and worth checking. If it has died of poisoning it is very worrying.’

Poison accumulates in food chains, affecting organisms, in particular harming creatures such as birds of prey which are often apex predators.

‘A lot of people are cross, upset and feel very passionately about this. It’s a lot of money and hopefully it’s more of an incentive.

‘We would love if people added to it, as unfortunately with people being people a reward can sometimes be the only way.

‘If it’s a wife, a neighbour, or anything at all we just hope they come forward. We have to catch the person who’s done it.’

GSPCA manager Steve Byrne said three kestrels had been brought in recently.

Since January 2019, the GSPCA has seen 37 birds of prey, half of which are back in the wild.

‘Some arrive deceased and often they are younglings struggling to feed themselves. All deceased birds of prey we are passing on to the States vet, who we are working with closely in case anything untoward is going on.’

Numbers are increasing year on year.

‘There’s a whole host of reasons why. There are fewer feral cats compared to 10 years ago, meaning there is a better food source for birds of prey so more are around. Community schemes encourage them in.

‘It’s very difficult to say whether somebody is putting poison down but we will continue to appeal for information. If anybody finds a bird of prey please bring it in so we can monitor the situation.’

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